Sandra and Christopher started planning a wedding for 150 guests, but soon realized that something more intimate felt more true to them and their relationship. 45 guests joined them at their beautiful boho chic wedding on a Dallas rooftop. Details we love? The Persian rugs, the bridesmaid dresses, the simple centerpieces, just to name a few!
Sandra made her own bridal bouquet! I also love this special detail from Sandra’s bridal ensemble: “My childhood best friend let me use her diamond studs as my something borrowed.”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? One of the first things I pinned on my “official” wedding board was Doloris Petunia’s Lucy headband. It pulled at my heartstrings and really was the inspiration behind our overall feel of “Black-tie-Bohemian.” A month before the wedding, Courtney Prince, the designer behind Doloris Petunia, hosted a contest on Twitter for none other but the Lucy. My heart stopped at the chance! Together with my bridesmaids we won the beautiful headpiece and it was the perfect final touch that went perfectly with my Katie May gown! It was a rush to win and my bridesmaids and I now share a very special memory, and many laughs from the experience. If Courtney Prince’s gift isn’t give further evidence that I truly am the luckiest bride then I don’t know what does!
“Our ceremony was held on the Rockefeller Sky Garden on the 12th floor of the Harwood International Building right next door to Saint Ann. It was a dream! I had wanted to incorporate a Persian runner and the setting worked perfectly for it. We were married facing the Dallas skyline between two trees. Trees on a rooftop! It could not have been more magical!”
Your ceremony in three words. Peaceful, sentimental, organic.
How did you go about planning your wedding ceremony? We wanted to keep our ceremony simple. It was just our pastor, Chris, and me at the altar. Our daughter, Emily joined us for part of our union ceremony as well.
Who officiated your ceremony? Gabriel Andrade, our Pastor at Tree of Life Church, officiated our wedding. Our church is all about true relationships and family so it was beautiful to have someone speak life into our marriage, someone who knew us personally and who we both look up to. Pastor Gabe’s mom was one of my childhood Sunday school teachers and was the first to tell me to pray for my spouse, no matter how young I was – and to be specific with my requests. Just how she had been with Pastor Gabe’s dad who was also my Pastor and passed away about ten years ago. Chris is that answer to my prayer and so much more. I shared this during my vows and it was so special to see how the three of us at the altar were connected.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? I’d like to think that Chris and I march to the beat of our own drum. I think our ceremony was traditional in the sense that it’s traditional to have a ceremony, but we really stripped it down to the essentials of what a ceremony is meant to be.
Processional: Ellie Golding’s version of Elton John’s “Your Song”
Recessional: “Music to Bowery” by Local Natives
What were your ceremony readings? We watered an olive tree for our unity ceremony and our pastor said the following words during the ceremony:
“The olive tree thrives under great heat and is known for its tenacity. They live, grow and bear fruit in any and every condition: hot, cold, dry, wet, fertile, rocky, or sandy; on terraced hills or in valleys. It is said that you can never kill an olive tree. Even when cut down or burned, new shoots will emerge from its roots. Like the olive tree we pray that Chris’ and Sandra’s marriage will withstand anything. Let this tree be a reminder that no matter what the conditions, they will remain steadfast in the presence of God – faithful, thriving, and bearing fruit.”
What were your vows like? We did a combination of traditional vows with our pastor and our own. It was important for us to write personal vows to each other. Chris spoke from his heart during his, and being the planner I am, I wrote mine down but half way through it seemed more natural to just speak from my heart as well.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Groom: Seeing my girls walk down the aisle. Emily was the perfect flower girl! Twirling and throwing her flowers! Being a photographer I’ve watched many brides walk down the aisle so I thought I knew what to expect. It wasn’t until I saw Sandra in her dress that I was like “WOW! You look beautiful in your wedding dress!” and those words were new, unique to her, and I truly knew what they meant. // Bride: I have so many! Our olive tree, for what it represented. Seeing Chris for the first time waiting for me at the altar, and the moment Chris and Emily shared when he gave her a promise ring. It was such a sweet and raw moment seeing both of them get emotional.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? Keeping with the intimate feel of our wedding we kindly asked our guests to not take pictures during the ceremony. As photographers we understand the importance of capturing those special moments but we both agreed that we wanted everyone to unplug and be present. Especially our moms. It was an important small detail and our guests gave us so many compliments on our choice afterwards!
“We started with a guest list of 150. With all the weddings we have worked at, and so much inspiration out there, it was a bit overwhelming trying to create something that felt like us. We re-started from scratch and decided what was truly important for us. That meant hosting something intimate, a true celebration with our closest friends and family. It was no easy task because we are blessed with so many great people in our lives, but in the end we were able to host a celebration that was true to us. And that was all worth it.”
How would you describe your reception? We wanted to host a reception that felt like a big family celebration! We opted for long kings tables instead of rounds and chose to sit with our guests instead of a sweetheart table for this reason. We took a huge risk by planning to have our wedding outdoors in Texas but the weather was perfectly breezy that day!
Why did you choose this location for your reception? Saint Ann was a gem that we bumped into on our venue search. We ruled out traditional ballrooms from the start – we wanted something fresh and different, with character! The history behind Saint Ann and its architecture just won our hearts over: Saint Ann was originally the first schoolhouse built for Hispanic children back in 1927. Its beautiful brick building was renovated into a wonderful urban oasis and hosts the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum on its second floor. This combination of art and history really gave us something exciting to work with. Saint Ann has an awesome vibe and I like to think that I found the only venue in Dallas that has palm trees – a little homage to my hometown, Pasadena, California.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Chris: Being able to finally announce Sandra and Emily as my family to the whole world! // Sandra: Our first dance and having our siblings and best friends give speeches at the end of the reception. It was a good walk down memory lane to have friends that I have known for 15+ years share thoughts and encouragement from Chris’s and my courtship.
First dance song: “By Your Side” by Sade
Please tell us about any special details from your reception. We really wanted to have Emily be part of the wedding. She loves animals so one of our DIY’s was to place little gold woodland creatures through out our tables. Emily also likes to collect rocks so we used smooth stones as name place “cards.” I have two younger siblings, so I wanted to have an area where they could all have fun! Chris built the cutest lace tent and we even added a little Persian rug at the entrance! // One thing we did not have to worry about was the photo booth at our reception! Our photography business, House of Boston Photo offers a photo booth, so that was probably the first item off our checklist! Our guest had so much fun! I picked up a sketch book from Anthropologie and had guests get creative with the props, their photo strips, cute tape and sharpies! It was a great alternative to having a guest book. The second night at our hotel we brought it out and just had a ball going through everyone’s silly pictures and comments!
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? My whole wedding was DIY! My bouquets was one of my favorite because it felt so me. I started collecting the candelabras from antique stores a few months before the wedding, and found the antlers at a great antique store in Austin. I have a super talented husband who put together a last minute graphic timeline for our wedding programs. I was lucky enough to have day of-coordinators that took care of setting up the decorations and helped guide our guests through out the evening. Although I was very involved in the planning, I didn’t get to see everything until I was there during the celebration and Chris and I were both in awe of how beautiful everything looked. We didn’t have to worry about a thing the day of and we felt like guests at our own wedding!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Don’t sweat the small stuff. The weeks leading to the wedding and even that day, there were things that we had to change. Some worked out for the better and some not so much but there was no point in stressing out about it. The day of, my makeup artist was in awe of how calm I was! The only thing that got me emotional was the thought of not having our olive tree for the ceremony, but that worked out at the end as well. We had a perfect wedding!
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? At the end of the day the most important thing is the commitment you are making to your spouse. I think a lot of people disregard the ceremony and focus a lot on the party planning and I think you have to remember why it is that you are standing in front of the people you love and sharing this special day with them. Invest in things that are important to you. Oh, and absolutely remember to have FUN!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I think we would have invested in a videographer. At the end of the reception Chris and I gave thank you speeches and Emily asked me for the microphone. Instead of addressing the crowd she took a deep breath and proceeded to thank Chris and me for being the best parents to her and said that she wouldn’t pick anyone else in the world to be her mommy and daddy. It was the sweetest thing ever, and so Emily! It’s those unplanned moments that you wish to replay over. I’m so grateful that we invested in a photographer that Chris and I both loved. At the end the pictures are what will decorated our home with and have as a coffee book for any visitors to look at! Most definitely a timeless investment!